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--were three noted outlaws, whose skill in archery rendered them formerly as famous in the North of England, as Robin Hood and his fellows were in the midland counties. Their place of residence was in the forest of Englewood, not far from Carlisle, (called corruptly in the ballad Englishwood, whereas Engle or Ingle-wood signifies Wood for firing.) At what time they lived does not appear. The author of the common ballad on "THE PEDIGREE, EDUCATION, AND MARRIAGE, OF ROBIN HOOD," makes them contemporary with Robin Hood's father, in order to give him the honour of beating them: viz.

The father of ROBIN a Forrester was,
And he shot in a lusty long-bow

Two north-country miles and an inch at a shot,
As the Pindar of Wakefield does know:

For he brought Adam Bell, and Clim of the Clough,
And William a Clowdéslee

To shoot with our Forester for forty mark;
And our Forester beat them all three.

Collect. of Old Ballads, 1727, 1 vol. p. 67.

This seems to prove that they were commonly thought to have lived before the popular Hero of Sherwood.

Our northern archers were not unknown to their southern countrymen: their excellence at the longbow is often alluded to by our ancient poets. Shakspeare, in his comedy of" MUCH adoe about nothing,"

act. 1. makes Benedicke confirm his resolves of not yielding to love, by this protestation, "If I do, hang "me in a bottle like a cat, and shoot at me, and he that "hits me, let him be clapt on the shoulder, and called "ADAM :" meaning ADAM BELL, as Theobald rightly observes, who refers to one or two other passages in our old poets wherein he is mentioned. The Oxford editor has also well conjectured, that "Abraham Cupid" in Romeo and Juliet, act. ii. sc. 1. should be "ADAM Cupid," in allusion to our archer. Ben Johnson has mentioned CLYM O' THE CLOUGH in his Alchemist, act. i. sc. 2. And Sir William Davenant, in a mock poem of his, called "THE long vacation in London," describes the Attornies and Proctors, as making matches to meet in Finsbury fields.

"With loynes in canvas bow-case tyde:t
"Where arrowes stick with mickle pride;....
"Like ghosts of ADAM BELL and CLYMME.
"Sol sets for fear they'l shoot at him."

Works, 1673, fol. p. 291.

I have only to add further concerning the principal Hero of this Ballad, that the BELLS were noted rogues in the North so late as the time of Q. Elizabeth. See in Rymer's Fœdera, a letter from lord William Howard to some of the officers of state, wherein he mentions them.

As for the following stanzas, which will be judged from the style, orthography, and numbers, to be of considerable antiquity, they were here given (corrected in some places by a MS. cony in the Editor's old folio) from a black-letter 4to. Imprinted at London

Bottles formerly were of leather; though perhaps a wooden bottle might be here meant. It is still a diversion in Scotland to hang up a cat in a small cask, or firkin, half filled with soot : and then a parcel of clowns on horseback try to beat out the ends of it, in order to show their dexterity in escaping before the contents fall upon them.

ti. e. Each with a canvas bow-case tied round his loins.

in Lothburge by Myllyam Copland (no date.) That old quarto edition seems to be exactly followed in "Pieces of Ancient Popular Poetry, &c. Lond. 1791," 8vo. the variations from which, that occur in the following copy, are selected from many others in the folio MS. above mentioned, and when distinguished by the usual inverted comma' have been assisted by conjecture.

In the same MS. this Ballad is followed by another, entitled YOUNGE CLOUDESLEE, being a continuation of the present story, and reciting the adventures of William of Cloudesly's son: but greatly inferior to this both in merit and antiquity.


MERY it was in the grene forest
Amonge the levès grene,

Whereas men hunt east and west
Wyth bowes and arrowes kene;

To raise the dere out of theyr denne ;
Suche sightes hath ofte bene sene;
As by thre yemen of the north countrèy,
By them it is I meane.

The one of them hight Adam Bel,

The other Clym of the Clough,*

The thyrd was William of Cloudesly,

An archer good ynough.



*Clym of the Clough means Clem. [Clement] of the Cliff: for so Clough signifies in the North.

They were outlawed for venyson,

These yemen every chone;

They swore them brethren upon a day,
To Englyshe wood for to gone.
Now lith and lysten, gentylmen,
That of myrthes loveth to here:
Two of them were single men,

The third had a wedded fere.

Wyllyam was the wedded man,

Muche more than was hys care:

He sayde to hys brethren upon a day,
To Carleile he would fare,

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For to speke with fayre Alyce his wife,


And with hys chyldren thre.

By my trouth, sayde Adam Bel,
Not by the counsell of me:

For if ye go to Carlile, brother,

And from thys wylde wode wende,


If that the justice may you take,

Your lyfe were at an ende.

If that I come not to-morowe, brother,

By pryme to you agayne,

Truste you then that I am 'taken,'

Or else that I am slayne.


Ver. 24. Caerlel, in PC. passim. V. 35. take, PC. tane. MS.

He toke hys leave of hys brethren two,

And to Carlile he is gon:

There he knocked at his owne windòwe

Shortlye and anone.

Wher be you, fayre Alyce, he sayd,

My wife and chyldren three?

Lyghtly let in thyne owne husbande,

Wyllyam of Cloudeslee.

Alas! then sayde fayre Alyce,

And syghed wonderous sore,

Thys place hath ben besette for you

Thys halfe a yere and more.

Now am I here, sayde Cloudeslee,

I would that in I were.

Now fetche us meate and drynke ynoughe,

And let us make good chere.

She fetched hym meate and drynke plentye,

Lyke a true wedded wyfe;

And pleased hym with that she had,

Whome she loved as her lyfe.

There lay an old wyfe in that place,

A lytle besyde the fyre,

Whych Wyllyam had found of charytyè

More than seven yere.






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